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There's Still Time to Stop Cyber-Meddling

The Spirit of SOPA & J. Edgar Hoover Lives!

It was a dark and stormy night.

I've been back in the US a month how, returning after three years in Asia. The internet service at my office has been spotty, slowed down by a creaky, cranky LAN, and my new home office was still being set up.

Finally got a relatively high-speed connection going at home just as the freezing rain was being replaced by a thunderstorm and high winds. There's snow in the forecast later this week. The battery in my car died.

Ah, gloomy thoughts! How's a person able to change the world by writing about cloud computing in the face of a never-ending battle to communicate through tin cans connected by string?

Subversion
I've been writing about global bandwidth over the past several weeks, and am sure (just as I'm sure most of my readers are sure) that Internet performance, or a lack thereof, is the main impediment to IT - and therefore, societal - progress.

We've subverted the dominant paradigm with software so many times in the past few years - with web services, SOA, BPM, and now the early confluence of cloud computing and big data - that we don't know what's "normal" anymore. Who has a typical IT infrastructure these days? Can such a thing be defined?

The hardware keeps getting faster and cheaper, with no signs of slowing down. Atom-level storage is no longer a wild fantasy, but being created on a small scale in labs.

The consequence of all this we've seen the potential of our machines (and the software that drives them) collect, aggregate, correlate, and encroach upon every aspect of our lives.

"You Know What Happens to Nosy Guys?"
There's a nice Tagalog term, "paki alamero," which literally means "person requesting to know" and which really means "nosy person" or "meddler." I see the faux privacy policies of every major social media site today as paki alamero, and the potential use of this information by government as something far worse than that.

The Spirit of SOPA is not going away just because this year's bill did. The USA Patriot Act will continue to chill Canada, the EU, and many other countries who don't want Uncle Sam doing even more snooping on their soil. Ideas such as the Obama Administration's International Strategy for Cyberspace would no doubt appeal to Dick Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover, Francisco Franco, and Jong-Il no doubt, but don't seem to reflect any sense of a Good America to me.

In the US, liberals and conservatives alike should remember that SOPA's supporters ranged from the Hollywood A-List to Rupert Murdoch. Meanwhile, Google, Facebook, and their ilk are watching you as closely as you thought Santa was when you were a kid.

So this is where the balky Internet that much of the world still encounters could be an ironically good thing. There's still time to stop all this nonsense before everyone is cruising along at 10Mbps, oblivious to the unblinking cyberbots who are monitoring their every heartbeat.

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More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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